Can return of CBI’s Manish Sinha expedite chit fund probe in Odisha?

Bhubaneswar: After he was shunted out in May 2015 while conducting probe as CBI SP into multi core chit fund scam in Odisha, Manish Kumar Sinha has returned as the DIG of CBI’s Special Investigation Team (SIT) here. His return to the investigation team after a gap of almost two years may be a normal for many, but what mattered the most during his short tenure then was the interrogation of influential persons including Rajya Sabha member Pyari Mohan Mohapatra, BJD MLA Pravat Biswal, MP Rabindra Jena and senior IPS officers Satish Gajbhiye and Rajesh Kumar.

Though exact cause behind the 2000-batch Andhra Pradesh-cadre IPS officer’s transfer was not known when the probe was at its ‘peak’, given that Sinha has been appointed as the DIG of CBI’s SIT, the central investigation agency in all likelihood will expedite the investigation into the Rs 20,000 crore scam in Odisha.

The agency, under his leadership, had questioned chief minister Naveen Patnaik’s erstwhile Man Friday and senior BJD leader Mohapatra, while the ruling party’s leaders like Balasore MP Rabindra Jena, Mayurbhnaj MP Ramchandra Hansdah and MLA Prabhat Biswal were not spared.

Besides, IPS officers Satish Gajbhiye and Rajesh Kumar, believed to have ‘close links’ with scam-tainted Seashore Group were also grilled by the investigating agency. The CM’s close aide Saroj Sahoo was also questioned by Sinha’s team for his links with Pradeep Sethy’s Artha Tatwa (AT) group.

Subhankar Nayak, an alleged conduit between ponzi firms and political leaders was also among many businessmen and others involved in money-trail, who were interrogated by the CBI.

In November 2014, along with Hansdah, former BJD MLAs Hitesh Bagarti and Subarna Nayak were arrested for their ‘links’ with Naba Diganta chit fund company.